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Reed v. Civic

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

May 31, 2017

CHARLES W. REED, No. 88172, Plaintiff,
CORE CIVIC, et al., Defendants.


          Aleta A. Trauger United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Charles W. Reed, an inmate of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Core Civic/M.D.C.D.F., Warden T. Thomsa, Assistant Warden J. Rychen, Assistant Warden J. Corlew, Chief Security F. Perry, and Chief Unit Manager D. King, alleging violations of the Plaintiffs' civil rights. (Docket No. 1).

         The Plaintiff's complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. PLRA Screening Standard

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the court must dismiss any portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section 1915A similarly requires initial review of any “complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, ” id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).

         The Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), “governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under those statutes because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive scrutiny on initial review, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).

         Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts' “duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up [unpleaded] allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted).

         II. Section 1983 Standard

          Plaintiff brings his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, abridges “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws . . . .” To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d 584, 590 (6th Cir. 2003); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         III. Alleged Facts

         The complaint alleges that, while incarcerated at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility, the plaintiff began attending Islamic services in 1995. During those services, the restroom doors were never locked. At some point, the plaintiff obtained permission from the chaplain to lead the services. After the plaintiff began leading the Islamic services, the administration implemented a new policy that all restroom doors must be locked during “church pill called program and mass movement.” (Docket No. 1 at p. 5). The plaintiff believes that this policy violates his federal constitutional rights. (Id.)

         IV. Analysis

         The complaint alleges that the plaintiff's federal rights are being violated because the facility restrooms are locked during Islamic worship services. (Docket No. 1 at p. 5). He cites the “Fourteenth Amendment Discrimination Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Religious” as the basis for his complaint. (Id.)

         Although the plaintiff alleges that he has been discriminated against, he does not have a valid Equal Protection claim against any defendant. The Fourteenth Amendment provides, in pertinent part, that “[n]o State shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” U.S. Const., amend. XIV, § 1. Most Equal Protection claims “allege that a state actor intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff because of membership in a protected class.” Henryv. Metro. Sewer Dist., 922 F.2d 332, 341 (6th Cir. 1990)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Although the complaint alleges that plaintiff has been discriminated against by the defendants because of his religion (Islam), he does not identify any specific inmate of a different religion who was treated differently under the same circumstances. The plaintiff attached the grievances he submitted concerning his complaints about the restroom doors being locked during Islamic services. (Docket No. 1 at pp. 7-9). In responding to and denying the plaintiff's grievance regarding the locked restrooms, Chief Security F. Perry states: ‚ÄúCaptain Hawkins is following directives as given to him by the Administration here at Metro. The restrooms are to be locked during ...

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